What is a postpartum doula, you ask? I’m glad you asked!
If you want an easier postpartum recovery, time to rest and bond with your newborn and someone to literally spoil you while you rest and heal… keep reading…
In this post, I am going to give you the scoop on postpartum doulas, the challenges of postpartum recovery and why you should hire a postpartum doula.
Most New Moms are Surprised by the Challenges of Postpartum Recovery!
If you are expecting a baby, you may be considering hiring a doula.
Birth doulas are well-known in new parent circles, but fewer expectant parents have heard of postpartum doulas.
In addition, most pregnant mothers don’t give much thought to their postpartum recovery.
It is very common for pregnant women to spend hours and hours of time during pregnancy researching labor and delivery, taking birthing classes and “nesting”. But very few women even consider their postpartum recovery!
That’s sad… really sad!
Why? Because so many new mothers say that they regret that they were not well-prepared for postpartum.
Many moms also say that they did not have the necessary knowledge of breastfeeding, newborn care or self-care needed for this sometimes very difficult season!
Not only that, but they didn’t properly plan for help during this time. Don’t let this happen to you!
As a postpartum doula, I can tell you that 100% of first-time moms that I have personally worked with have told me that they had no idea of what to expect postpartum.
Nor did they think it would be so hard!
They spent most of their energy during pregnancy preparing for labor and delivery.
Some of them took breastfeeding classes or newborn care classes, but most did not take time to plan for postpartum by creating a postpartum plan or hiring help.
Speaking of hiring help…. Let’s get back to our discussion of hiring a postpartum doula!
What is a Postpartum Doula?
A postpartum doula is a skilled caregiver trained to support new mothers during the early weeks and months after giving birth.
Postpartum doulas “mother the new mother”, helping her emotionally and physically recover from childbirth and helping her transition to life with a newborn.
She also provides evidenced-based information for new parents, helping them with their new parent questions and assisting with infant feeding and soothing, breastfeeding, and newborn care.
In addition to this, she is on hand to take care of household chores such as laundry, meal prep, and sibling care, giving the new mother time to rest and bond with her new baby.
Research shows that new families have a much easier time with this transition if a good support team is in place.
The Challenges of Postpartum Recovery
While I don’t want to scare you or cause you unnecessary anxiety, I do want to give you a bit of a reality check…
Postpartum recovery is hard.
There. I said it!
While there are some women who find recovery a breeze, I would say that most mothers would totally agree with that statement.
As a new mother, not only are you recovering from childbirth, (long sleepless labor, stitches, swollen bottom, incision pain, vaginal bleeding, sore muscles, etc.) but now you are dealing with a sometimes very demanding little person who cares NOT for your need to recover or sleep!
If you are recovering from a cesarean birth, check out this post for some helpful c-section recovery tips.
Then there is breastfeeding… which can be difficult even in “easy” cases.
Most breastfeeding mothers experience initial pain or discomfort while learning to breastfeed. Even though breastfeeding is “natural”, it is not always easy.
There is a learning curve for mother and baby.
Now that brings me to sleep…. or should I say… lack of… sorry, it’s just the truth.
Every new parent will tell you that having a newborn is exhausting. Many have never experience sleep-deprivation to such degrees.
Additionally, newborns cry a lot, which can feed a new mama’s anxiety and fatigue.
During the first two weeks postpartum, most new moms also experience some form of the “baby blues”. This is caused by a sudden change in hormones and is very normal.
Unfortunately, it can also be quite challenging.
Lack of sleep during the postpartum season can also increase your chances of postpartum mood disorders such as anxiety or depression.
But, since it’s hard to get sleep with a newborn, it sometimes feels like a merry-go-round that’s hard to get off!
In addition to the most common postpartum challenges mentioned above, there are also some women who experience more serious childbirth or postpartum complications such as high blood pressure, hemorrhaging, mastitis, engorgement or postpartum endometritis.
Many of these complications can be avoided, though. That’s why it is so very important for new mothers to rest and get help.
Why You Should Hire a Postpartum Doula
When you hire a postpartum doula, you will have expert help to take care of you and your baby.
Your postpartum doula will have YOU as her main priority!
Because of this, you will get the help and rest you need.
You will be spoiled and pampered.
You will have time to rest, shower, and bond with your baby and she will be at your side with expert, evidence-based advise and reassurance!
She will ensure that you get plenty of time to sleep and recover, especially if you hire an overnight postpartum doula!
Getting rest and sleep will go a long way in preventing postpartum complications such as I mentioned above.
In fact, many women who suffered from postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression with their first babies, report that getting the extra sleep made a HUGE difference in preventing postpartum mood disorders with subsequent babies.
So, you see, having a postpartum doula can be a real game-changer.
How to Find a Postpartum Doula
If you live in the United States, you can search for a postpartum doula here.
You can also find birth and postpartum doulas internationally here.
Many birth doulas also provide postpartum services. If your birth doula does not, she probably will be able to give you a list of postpartum doulas in your area.
Free Postpartum Help and Resources!
Unfortunately, not every woman is able to hire a postpartum doula. ☹
I want to help! For this reason, I have decided to offer free postpartum help online.
Please visit my blog for lots of FREE information and resources for your postpartum planning, recovery and newborn care help!
Free resources include: printable postpartum plan, “Planning for Postpartum” free email course, printable planning checklists and much more!
Karen is a certified birth doula, postpartum doula and lactation counselor. She has a passion for helping new mamas during postpartum recovery. When she is not working with new mamas or blogging, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 5 grown children and 3 grandchildren. Karen has years of experience with newborns, natural remedies and organic, healthy living. Please visit her blog HealthyMamaHacks.net for FREE postpartum resources and newborn care tips!